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Maldivian Recipes: A 5-dish authentic Maldivian Iftar menu

A special selection for Iftar featuring 5 authentic Maldivian dishes, by Aishath Nashida (Food Blogger, Nattulicious).

29 May 2019, MVT 11:24
Special tuna curry (Kandu Kukulhu). PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS
29 May 2019, MVT 11:24

Ramadan is the most special month for Muslims. It’s a month of blessing, joy and celebration.

Praying, reading Quran, giving charity and cooking everyone’s favourite food is what I love to do.

The first day of Ramadan is very special. It brings back fond memories of my mom’s cooking. I remember my mom making a big pot of creamy coconut rice pudding and crepes or kiru and folhi to celebrate the first day of Ramadan. So it’s a tradition I still continue.

Then there’s always varieties of short eats or hedhikaa made with tuna to break the fast. Maldivian fish cake, fish balls, samosas, fish rolls, cutlets to name a few. Spicy Potato and Tuna Cutlets is an all time favourite. But I have switched it up by making mini burgers for the burger lover. So you’ve got two favourite snacks from the one.

For the main meal, roti and curries are a must. Special Tuna Curry or Kandu Kukulhu is the most special fish curry for Maldivians. The literal meaning of Kandu Kukulhu is Sea Chicken or Chicken of the Sea. Chicken curry being a favourite curry for Maldivians, hence the name “Kandu Kukulhu” has been given to show how special this tuna curry is. I have given a modern twist to this famous curry.

The first day of Ramadan is very special. It brings back fond memories of my mom’s cooking. I remember my mom making a big pot of creamy coconut rice pudding and crepes or kiru and folhi to celebrate the first day of Ramadan. So it’s a tradition I still continue.

Then there’s always varieties of short eats or hedhikaa made with tuna to break the fast. Maldivian fish cake, fish balls, samosas, fish rolls, cutlets to name a few. Spicy Potato and Tuna Cutlets is an all time favourite. But I have switched it up by making mini burgers for the burger lover. So you’ve got two favourite snacks from the one.

For the main meal, roti and curries are a must. Special Tuna Curry or Kandu Kukulhu is the most special fish curry for Maldivians. The literal meaning of Kandu Kukulhu is Sea Chicken or Chicken of the Sea. Chicken curry being a favourite curry for Maldivians, hence the name “Kandu Kukulhu” has been given to show how special this tuna curry is. I have given a modern twist to this famous curry.

Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding and Crepes (Kiru and Folhi)

Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding and Crepes (Kiru and Folhi). PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS

Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup basmati rice washed and soaked in hot water for 15 minutes

• 1/4 cup water

• 2×10 cm pandan leaves torn

• 1/3 cup white sugar or to taste

• 1/2 cup coconut milk powder dissolved in 1 cup of hot water (you can use fresh coconut milk if preferred)

Method:

1. In a food processor blend the soaked rice with the 1/4 cup water until smooth.

2. In a medium size pot add the blended rice, sugar, pandan leaves and coconut milk.

3. Cook on low to medium heat, whisking continuously or stirring with a wooden spoon being careful that no lumps form. If the heat is too high it will form lumps so make sure you start with the gentle heat.

4. Once it comes to a boil and is thick and smooth, take off heat.

5. Serve with crepes or even by itself.

Crepes

Ingredients:

• 1 cup flour

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 egg

• 1 cup water

Method:

1. Place the above ingredients in a bowl and using a whisk, blend everything until smooth. Add an extra tablespoon of water if needed or more if you prefer a thinner batter.

2. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat.

3. Spray some oil or add a teaspoon of oil onto the pan, then wipe off with a paper towel.

4. Pour about 2 tablespoons onto the pan and spread it thinly with the back of the spoon. When one side is done turn over and cook the other side for a few seconds or so. Repeat with the remaining batter.

5. Serve the crepes with the coconutty rice pudding or the crepes can be enjoyed with a curry, especially my tuna curry.

Spicy Potato and Tuna Cutlets, and Mini Sliders

Spicy tuna and potato cutlets, with mini sliders. PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS

Serves: 4-6 as a side dish

Ingredients:

• 100g onion, thinly sliced

• 1/2 habanero, or scorpion chilli thinly sliced or to taste

• 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

• 1-2 sprig curry leaves thinly sliced

• 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste

• 1 tin (185g) tuna chunks in oil, drained

• 200g potatoes peeled, quartered and boiled until soft

Method:

1. Place the onion, chilli, garlic, curry leaves, salt, pepper and lemon juice in a medium sized bowl.

2. Using a disposable glove, mix thoroughly the above ingredients by squeezing the mixture so as to soften the onions and to blend everything together.

3. Add the tuna and mix well.

4. Add the potatoes and mix everything until the potatoes and the tuna are all well blended together.

5. Make bite sized balls approximately 18g each.

6. If you want to switch up, make a few mini burgers (about45g) flatten it out.

7. Keep aside on a plate.

For the Crumbing:

• 1 egg lightly beaten

• 1 cup bread crumbs (I used Panko breadcrumbs)

• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

• 2 sprigs curry leaves thinly sliced

Method:

1. Place the beaten egg in a shallow bowl.

2. Place the breadcrumbs in another bowl, then mix in the garlic powder and curry leaves.

3. Dip each cutlet and the mini burger in the egg mixture, shaking off excess. I do it one by one with a fork.

4. Then coat in the breadcrumbs well.

5. Keep aside on a flat plate.

6. Finish the rest.

Frying:

1. Fill a small wok or fry pan with enough oil to cover the cutlets at least halfway when frying.

2. Heat the pan over medium heat and when the oil is hot, slowly lower 3 to 4 cutlets at a time. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

3. Fry the cutlets and the mini burgers until deep golden brown and crisp all over, whilst carefully turning them a few times. They will cook very fast so don’t leave them unattended.

4. Remove and drain well on paper towels.

5. Serve warm with chilli sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise.

Switch Up:

1. Halve a few mini slider buns.

2. Spread some Kewpie mayonnaise or your favourite chilli or tomato sauce on the bottom half of the bun.

3. Top up with the fatten mini burger and add a few salad leaves, put the burger top and enjoy.

4. You can add cheese too if you like.

Special Tuna Curry (Kandu Kukulhu)

Special tuna curry (Kandu Kukulhu). PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 6

For the Curry Paste

Ingredients:

• 8 tablespoon desiccated coconut

• 1 sprig curry leaves

• 5 dried red chillies

• 6 cloves garlic or 2 teaspoon chopped garlic

• 1 tablespoon grated ginger

• 170 gm onion roughly chopped

• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds

• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds

• 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 6 green cardamom pods

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• Pinch of fenugreek seeds

• 1/2 cup water

Method:

1. Blend all the above ingredients until smooth. Keep aside.

For the Tuna

Ingredients:

• 530gm fresh tuna

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

1. Wash and slice the tuna.

2. Working around the piece of tuna, slice around it as if you are unrolling a swiss roll. (2cm x 17cm approximately)

3. Rub the salt in to the fish.

4. Spread one teaspoon of curry paste onto each of the tuna piece and roll it tightly.

5. Secure it with a toothpick or strips of pandan leaf.

6. Finish with the rest of the fish.

7. Keep aside.

For the Curry

Ingredients:

• 2 cups water

• 1 sprig curry leaves

• 3 x9 cm pandan leaf

• 2 medium fresh tomatoes quartered

• 1/4 habanero chilli or scotch bonnet chilli or to taste.

• 1 teaspoon salt or to taste

• 1/4 cup coconut milk powder mixed with 1/2 cup hot water.

Method:

1. Place the remaining curry paste ( approximately 1 and 1/3 cups)in a medium sized pan.

2. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.

3. Place the fish in the pan, followed by the curry leaves, pandan leaf, tomatoes, chilli and salt.

4. Cook on medium high heat uncovered, for about 15 minutes giving a stir from time to time.

5. Or until the fish and the curry paste is cooked and fragrant. (If you feel the curry is too thick you can add more water but I prefer it this way)

6. Add the coconut milk, and cook for 2 more minutes.

7. Take off heat.

8. Serve with rice, roti or folhi. Enjoy!

Modern twist

Special tuna curry (Kandu Kukulhu) with a modern twist. PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS

1. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small fry pan.

2. Place the reserved piece of tuna and cook on each side for about 5 minutes or until firm and lightly golden.

3. Take off heat.

4. Serve with a green salad ( spinach salad) and some gravy from the curry on the side.

Maldivian-style Rotis (Roshi) or Flatbreads

Maldivian-style rotis (Roshi) or flatbreads. PHOTO/NATTULICIOUS

Ingredients:

• 2 cups all purpose plain flour, plus extra flour for dusting

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 4 tablespoon oil (olive or vegetable oil)

• 1 cup boiling hot water

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the 2 cups of flour, salt and oil, with a spoon.

2. Add the freshly boiled 1 cup of hot water, and mix with the spoon, until the mixture pulls away from the sides.

3. Then knead with your hands (careful it’s going to be hot) for about 3-4 minutes or until smooth and pliable.

4. Preheat a non stick frying pan or tawa (a flat cast iron pan)

5. Divide the dough into 20 equal sized smooth balls.

6. Flatten the balls slightly with the palm of your hands.

7. Put about 1/3 cup of flour in a small bowl.

8. Dip one flattened ball generously in the flour, on both sides, then use a rolling pin and wooden board, roll out each piece as thinly as you can or about 15cm – 18 cm round.

9. Cook the roti until bubbles begin to appear, turn over and cook until the under side has brown spots.

10. Place the roti in a plate lined with paper towel or kitchen paper.

11. Once the pan is heated you may need to turn down the heat slightly.

12. Finish the rest of the rotis.

13. Cover with kitchen paper and then cover the whole plate with cling wrap or alumniium foil.

14. Serve with any curry.

15. Note: Once cooled these rotis can be placed in freezer bags and frozen.

Editor's Note: To peruse more of Nashida’s fantastic creations head over to her website www.nattulicious.com or follow her drool-worthy posts on IG by hitting follow on the handle @nattulicious - you won’t regret it!

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